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COMP61421 Cyber Security syllabus 2019-2020

COMP61421 materials

COMP61421 Cyber Security

Level 6
Credits: 15
Enrolled students: 45

Course leader: Ning Zhang

Additional staff: view all staff


  • Pre-Requisite (Compulsory): COMP61411

Assessment methods

  • 50% Written exam
  • 50% Coursework
Sem 1 P2 Lecture 2.19 Tue 09:00 - 17:00 -
Themes to which this unit belongs
  • Security


This course unit is jointly developed and delivered by Ning Zhang (from the School of Computer Science) and Daniel Dresner (a graduate of Manchester Business School who works with government, industry, and the third sector to secure information systems). Over the period of the module, Daniel and Ning are joined by a cohort of guest lecturers from industry.


The course unit covers risk, human factors, and compensating technologies by considering the requirements of cyber and information system security with a systemic view of the development process from the 'Acquisition' through to the 'Disposal' stages.


Information assurance: the need for computer and network security

  • Security Breaches
    • Mistakes, criminality and cyber terrorism
  • System Life cycles
    • Plan-do-check-act
    • Propose, direct, monitor
  • Trustworthy software
  • Vulnerabilities
    • Technological
    • Human vulnerabilities in computer and network security

Cyber and information security management

  • Risk management
    • Threats and breaches
    • Risk and threat modelling
  • Technologies and countermeasures
    • Entity identification and authentication
    • Access control in computer systems and in networks
    • Communication security, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and Web security
    • Wireless network security
    • E-Commerce/cloud computing security

Controls and regulators

  • Protection
    • Security Policy
    • Secure System Development and Maintenance
    • Security Organisation
    • Asset Management
    • Access Control
    • Physical and Environmental Security
    • Human factors
  • Operation
    • Communications and Operations Management
    • Security Incident and Event Management
    • Business Continuity Management
  • Self preservation
    • Kill-chain disruption
    • Intrusion prevention
    • Intrusion detection
    • Recovery
  • Compliance
    • Cyber and information security management standards
    • Laws and regulations
    • Audits reviews, and inspection
    • Vulnerability scanners
    • Penetration testing
    • Computer forensics

Teaching methods


40 hours: Lectures and group work.

Feedback methods

Via question/answer session during lectures and course works.

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam (2 hours)
  • Lectures (20 hours)
  • Practical classes & workshops (15 hours)

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Group/team working
  • Innovation/creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Research
  • Written communication

Learning outcomes

Programme outcomeUnit learning outcomesAssessment
A1 A2 A3 B2Analyse and identify security vulnerabilities and threats in a networked or distributed system context.
  • Case Study Report
  • Examination
  • Individual coursework
A1 A2 B2 B3 C1 D5 G4Design security protocols or solutions for a given security problem or for achieving a given security goal.
  • Examination
  • Case Study Report
  • Individual coursework
A1 A2 B3Describe, analyse and apply security techniques and technologies learnt in the course unit to solve real-life security problems in practical systems.
  • Examination
  • Case Study Report
  • Individual coursework
C3Demonstrate your awareness of recent research directions or activities in the area of cyber security.
  • Examination
  • Case Study Report
  • Individual coursework
A1 A2Appreciate the application of security techniques and technologies in solving real-life security problems in practical systems.
  • Case Study Report
  • Examination

Reading list

Security engineering: a guide to building dependable distributed systems (2nd edition)Anderson, Ross J.9780470068526Wiley 2008
Case of the killer robot: stories about the professional, ethical and societal dimensions of computingEpstein, Richard G.9780471138235Wiley1996
Cryptography and network security: principles and practice (7th edition)Stallings, William9781292158587Pearson2017
Building Internet firewalls (2nd edition)Zwicky, Elizabeth D. and Simon Cooper and D.Brent Chapman1565928717O' Reilly2000

Additional notes

Course unit materials

Links to course unit teaching materials can be found on the School of Computer Science website for current students.